Hawkeyes Set To Open Big Ten Season

March 23, 2010

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The 66th-ranked University of Iowa men’s tennis team opens the Big Ten season this weekend. Iowa, 8-3 overall, travels to Michigan State Saturday to face the Spartans at 11 a.m. (CT). The Hawkeyes will then play at Michigan Sunday at 11 a.m. (CT).

Iowa’s two upcoming opponents, Michigan and Michigan State, squared off last Saturday. The Wolverines, ranked 28th nationally, defeated the Spartans, 6-1. The win moved Michigan to 5-6 overall and 1-0 in conference play. Michigan State is 11-5 overall and 0-1 in Big Ten play.

Iowa is 31-25 all-time against Michigan State and 6-43 against Michigan. The Hawkeyes defeated both the Spartans and the Wolverines by 4-3 margins last season in Iowa City.

The Hawkeyes finished 2-1 on their annual spring trip. Iowa lost at No. 52 UNLV Wednesday, 5-2. The Hawkeyes then traveled to Palm Springs, CA for two matches. Iowa topped Wichita State Friday, 5-2, and defeated Pacific Saturday, 4-3.

Iowa finished the nonconference schedule with a record of 8-3. Iowa’s remaining regular season matches will all be against conference opponents. After the trip to the state of Michigan, the Hawkeyes return home to face No. 3 Ohio State and No. 62 Penn State.

Iowa is ranked No. 66 in the current ITA team rankings. Ten of the 11 Big Ten schools are nationally ranked. Iowa is ranked fourth in the latest central region rankings. In addition, sophomore Marc Bruche is ranked 15th in singles. Rankings can be found at itatennis.com.

HEAD COACH Steve Houghton
Steve Houghton, the dean of Big Ten coaches, is in his 29th year as head coach of the Hawkeyes. He has compiled a career record of 318-321 (.498), recording the most wins of any coach in Iowa men’s tennis history. Houghton recorded his 300th win at Indiana State Feb. 6, 2009. His best season came in 1984 when Iowa won a school record 21 matches and two Hawkeyes earned all-Big Ten honors. In 1989, Houghton was named NCAA Region IV Coach of the Year and picked up his 100th career dual win. Four of Houghton’s athletes have also been selected Big Ten Sportsman of the Year. He became the winningest coach in Iowa tennis history in 1992 and is a member of the Iowa Tennis Hall of Fame. While playing at Iowa, Houghton had a career winning percentage of .727 (40-15), second best in Iowa history.